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What shoppable video can do for publishers

OPINION

Publishers with an ear to the digital ground will have heard plenty of buzz recently about shoppable video – the interactive media that allows consumers to buy straight from video content. But so far, focus has mostly centred on what it can do for brands and advertisers. While instantly purchasable video offers significant opportunities to boost buy-side engagement, it also brings multiple benefits for media owners that shouldn’t be overlooked.

The most obvious advantage is enhanced monetisation. As ecommerce booms — with UK market estimates already upgraded by £5.3 billion — advertisers are keen to claim a piece of the online spending action and interest in click-to-shop placements is rising. According to recent Kenshoo research, shoppable ads have seen sustained growth in investment this year despite COVID-19 disruption.

But this isn’t the only positive. In addition to boosting their advertising appeal and revenue, embracing shoppable video can help publishers maximise their audience relationships: not only providing immersive content that enriches the user experience, but also greater ability to hook and hold onto valuable individual interest.

Maintaining user attention

Online ads remain an essential revenue stream for publishers, but they also bring one key issue: by encouraging clicks that direct users to external content, ads often divert audiences away from publisher sites — impacting both dwell time and engagement.

Shoppable video, however, presents a solution to this challenge by allowing users to instantly interact with ads that sparks their interest, without leaving the video or site. Typically, this involves introducing hotspot overlays that enable individuals to click on certain elements and open up an array of additional content while the video plays; be that details about the brand or specific products. But platforms that harness advances such as direct in-cart integration can also give individuals the ability to immediately buy items within the video player.

For publishers, that means shoppable video can fuel advertising revenue and keep users on their site for longer. Moreover, by leveraging the powerful blend of video and online shopping, there is also potential to drive higher attention.

Recent trials run by Forbes, for example, have demonstrated that engagement levels achieved by shoppable video — including objection interaction, clicks, and scene saves — can be six times higher than the click-through rates for standard video.

Enhancing the online experience

Every publisher wants to provide captivating experiences that help strengthen their audience connections, and this is another area where shoppable video has scope to shine. Its in-built interactivity isn’t just useful for improving retention; harnessed to serve contextually relevant content, it can heighten user experience and enjoyment. Put simply, shoppable video can be a valuable addition to the digital publishing toolkit.

Of course, success depends on smart application. Publishers have detailed knowledge of their own content and to ensure ads hit the right note, they must leverage that insight to ensure placements align with surrounding subject matter. For instance, that might mean offering refined targeting where brands specialising in high-performance trainers can include shoppable video ads alongside articles about improving running speed; delivering higher relevance for page visitors and increasing the likelihood of interaction.

The extra bonus being that analysis of how users engage with ads can generate even more granular data. Through ongoing assessment of individual activity — such as which hotspots they click on, viewing choices, and duration — publishers will gain unique insights they can use to develop content that resonates with users on an even deeper level and enhances long-term loyalty, as well as a foundation for better ads.  

Maximising affiliate revenue

No discussion of broadening monetisation horizons would be complete without a mention of affiliate marketing. Forward-thinking publishers have been keeping close watch on how digital content can be used by audiences as a vehicle for buying products they have just seen, especially across popular social media platforms. Shoppable video is a natural fit for media owners keen to follow this trend and tap affiliate opportunities by facilitating fun, easy, and instant purchasing. In fact, it can drive even higher rewards than may lead to other options.

Most affiliate partnerships are built around links — publishers insert links on their pages and receive payment from brands, retailers or ecommerce sites each time a user clicks through. But this approach has two major flaws; not only are users once again redirected away, but there is also a missed opportunity for publishers to bolster their bottom line.

Shoppable video generates much more than just clicks; providing spaces where individuals can go from inspiration to conversion, in the moment. Basing affiliate deals on the results of instantly purchasable ads can therefore optimise outcomes for everyone: stronger sales uplift for partners and returns for publishers that reflect the full value they offer.

Taking the decision to adopt shoppable video will undoubtedly benefit buyers, but in doing so, publishers will also enhance their own prospects. By embracing ads that keep users on the page and match their unique interests, media owners can achieve the best of both worlds; sustained ad income and experience quality — and all of that on top of the potential to super-charge affiliate revenue and further feed their passion. Delivering benefits on all sides, shoppability is a win-win for publishers, advertisers and audiences.

Rayhan Perera
CEO And Founder, OneDash

OneDash is a solution for monetizing video-based media. Our primary goal is giving media owners, advertisers, and creators the tools to push content over any platform to maximize value. The primary product of OneDash is our content dashboard comprised of various solutions and multi-faceted tools that, when put together, offer a turnkey approach to the value creation of video-based media.

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